By Christopher Schuck
So, I have been away from my blog for a while. The distracted life of a writer being what it is (or is that just being human?).
I know living life, reading daily, and writing obsessively are the staples of being a great writer, but in the midst of that, this site has suffered. However, these are my chronicles so I’ll update you.
Last August I officially separated from the military, a promising career that had the fatal flaw not providing for me the passion or joy writing does. (Perhaps only a writer can understand this sentiment, as it even seems borderline idiotic to me.) Of course, the nail in the coffin was the 11 year contract I was due to sign, and I had already agreed to enough long-term commitments that year in having a baby on the way. So, I quit medical school two years in, a month into my surgery rotation, so I could have more time with my family and to write. (As I take a sip of coffee, I realize I really need to switch out my House M.D. coffee cup for Mark Twain.)
Anyway, my wife was seven months pregnant by this time and, oh ya, I had no other career options lined up. It was a blind fall off a cliff into literature, of which I had to build the parachute as I fell. Here’s to hoping I find success before I hit the ground!
Granted, I’m a dreamer, not a fool, so we did have a buffer to help us descend. My wife’s family—my family—graciously offered to provide us room and board in their spacious five-room basement while we have our babies and I try getting a book out. Also, I still had a decent amount of money owed me by the military.
So, we packed our home up and moved from the east coast to good old Idaho (where our new basement home). The area isn’t bad, despite that I just updated Facebook that my neighborhood is “I can see cows from my front window.” I think we are enjoying the peaceful contrast to the east coast, though we are still wavering on where we want to settle permanently. Another perk of this area is that it fits snuggly between the states where most of my family lives: Washington and Montana.
Despite the peaceful atmosphere, life’s insanity has still managed to find us (and grab us and throw us around a little). See, I had this plan (outlined by day and hour), which pretty much amounted to working 60 hours per week, concurrently studying creative writing and trying to creatively write myself. Those 60 hours quickly dwindled down to 30 hours, then 10. How so?
- Our baby came—little Avalon Esmae Schuck. She is pure joy and pure chaos, both in their most concentrated form. I love that little stinker so much I can’t stand it! She is so beautiful and full of life and light. She would gladly take up every second of my day, and often demands it or manipulates me into it with playful smiles.
- Then there is my dedicated and most indescribably magnificent wife Bethany, who unknowingly conceded to become pregnant with our second child four months after Avalon was born. What can I say? I know how to live life well. We are excited beyond exhaustion and eagerly dreading more.
- While all of this was happening, and I’ll spare the piles of details and explanations, we went through the processes of taking legal care of a young person in need, though it fell through after some level of drama, time, and expense.
- Several trips to see family (now that, after 11 years in the military I can just go places without written permission). Our baby Avalon has officially completed one 900-mile road trip, three two-way airplane flights, and several dozen sleepless nights in her first six months.
It’s been sheer beautiful chaos that I know is showing up in my character’s lives. And that is what I have to keep telling myself—this is so character building! Its been a crash course in “living life to learn better writing.”
Finally, speaking of my characters, I am going to post an updated first chapter, and maybe second one. I am edging nearer and nearer to completion and eagerly anticipating what that journey (query letters, outlines, agents, editors, etc.) will look like. I will be sure to keep you updated. (And speaking of updates, the latest version of my 1st Chapter is up.)
What is your journey looking like? Writing a book or getting published? How is your life and writing life interacting or interfering with each other? Please share your experiences.